Thursday, July 1, 2010


The Apple store on the Upper West Side, NY was wide awake all night and way into the opening time of 7am last Thursday to catch the early morning 4G worm.  A line that went a little over a quarter of a mile--looped around two square blocks--starting at 67th and Broadway--where the store is nestled and ending on 69th and Amsterdam where the late comers seemed to pile up nervously--unable to forecast when they'd have the latest iPhone gadget in their hands.  To Apple's credit they kept the lines very well organized--making sure that none of the other businesses surrounding the premises would be disturbed by the long lineage of fan boys and girls, men, women, dogs, and kids.  The tech giant even provided breakfast via Starbucks for the die-hard fans starting to suffer from the impending 90 degree weather--threatening to keep the price of purchasing the Apple device on the day of the launch beyond dollars and cents--with an additional add on tax paid in perseverance.  Free bottled water, muffins, donuts, croissants, and ice coffee were handed out with encouragement to ease the pain and to keep the momentum going for the crowd of Apple masses persistently waiting. 

Corey a student from Columbia University, came out with glee in his eyes after his grand purchase--almost delirious as he opened the iPhone 4 package.  Asked how long he waited he said, "I've been here since 8 o'clock last night--so about 8 hours."  It was 8am  when we spoke to him upon his exit.  Hence Corey in fact, had been waiting for a grand total of 12 hours, but was too euphoric to notice.  "I live right across the street," he bolstered.  "So it was easy--I just made friends on the line and we all took turns to keep our spots in check.  It was definitely worth waiting for it..."   Bob, another young fan boy who had witnessed the line forming as of last night, decided to come back this morning--only to be overwhelmed even more.  "My plan now is to wait until the mania dies down a bit.  I'll get it then.  But I'm pretty excited for it."

Both costumers--with reserved and unreserved purchases went into the line of battle together in a single file--separating only at the register--proving that the best strategy to score the most coveted smart phone on the block---literally these days was to pre-order.  Aside from yesterday's recent announcement that the white iPhone 4G will not be available until mid-July, just an hour after the UWS store opened the 32 GB had already sold out.  James an ABC engineer, suddenly disgruntled spouted out at the store worker, "What!?" The blue wearing Apple messenger immediately rectified her statement as everyone's ear perked, "No no no, that's just for those who didn't reserve an iPhone.  The engineer--with the printed receipt in hand, took a big sigh of relief and went back into his story telling to a surveyor explaining why he had skipped purchasing an iPhone generation prior to this one. 

This particular store, (as there's a total of 4 Apple stores in New York) had about 1200 iPhone 4Gs stocked for the ones who reserved one, while 1600 were available for purchase for the non-reserves.  Judging from the outcome of hundreds of people who showed up even prior to the store opening today however, it's possible that this Apple location will sell out of iPhone 4s by end of day.  Apple's stock for pre-orders on the on-line store had also been sold out before today's hefty launch--forcing a temporary suspension in the ordering process.  

Even with all the pre-game scandal surrounding the 4G launch--with the whole stolen prototype Gizmodo story forcing an anticlimactic Keynote out of Steve Jobs early this June, it seems like nothing can deter Apple aficionados from showcasing their early adaptor vigor.  While the rest of the globe readied themselves to gather around and keep score of their World Cup squad this morning, the Apple team camped out outside their closest store instead--just to pay homage to the latest iPhone trophy, in the hopes of having the chance to buy one on the first day. 

A version of this piece ran on Dscriber last week: HERE.
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